If you are taking part in an exchange programme or are enrolled on an international course, it is quite possible that a room will be arranged for you. Accept it immediately, or you will regret it later! Finding a place to live in a country as crowded as Holland is not easy. It is even difficult for Dutch students to find their own rented rooms on the private market. Rooms are generally unfurnished, and kitchens and bathrooms are often shared with others. Most rental contracts are for at least six months or a year. Before you leave your own country, ask your host institution whether or not housing will be arranged for you in advance.
The EIU’s latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey shows that the cost of living in Amsterdam is modest compared with cities like New York, London, Paris and Beijing. Experience shows that to live and study in Holland for one year costs a student between 700 and 1,000 euro a month. This is needed to cover daily expenses, to pay the rent, and for registration and tuition fees.
You cannot rely on finding a source of additional income after you arrive. The institutions have very limited funds for supporting students. If you are from an EU or EEA member state, however, you may be entitled to a regular student grant or to a refund of the tuition fees. For specific information, contact the Informatie Beheer Groep, www.ib-groep.nl.
38 Study in Holland
Examine the available study programmes. See www.studyin.nl for a recent list of international study programmes and courses. To avoid disappointment, make some second choices as well. 2 Make sure that the programme of your choice is an accredited programme. If it is not, it doesn’t mean that its quality is not up to par, but it may mean that the degree is not formally recognized in the Nether- lands. As a consequence the degree may not be recognized in your home country. 3 Contact the Dutch embassy or the international relations office of your own institution to find out about scholarship and exchange opportunities and look at www.grantfinder.nl. 4 Contact the institution in Holland that offers the programme you have chosen, and ask for more information about admission requirements, etc. 5 If the programme is suitable and you meet the requirements, follow the institution’s procedure for gaining admission. 6 At the same time, check which immigration regulations apply to you. You will find this information at: www.nuffic.nl/immigration or www.ind.nl. 7 Gather all the documents which the Dutch immigration authorities require in your case. If you need an entry visa (MVV), ask your host institution if they can arrange it on your behalf. 8 Ask the host institution about arranging a place for you to live. 9 Check whether your current health insurance provides sufficient coverage while you are in Holland. Check the information on www.nuffic.nl/pdf/service/factsh/ healthinsurance.pdf. 10 Once all of your papers are in order, you can start making your travel plans. 1
Julius Fofang Awambeng (29), Cameroon
The curriculum is rich and intensive
International Hotel Management, International University of Applied Sciences NHTV Breda
In Cameroon, I was a receptionist at a hotel. I’m happy that I could come to Holland to follow a study programme that I’ve dreamt of for a long time. The most important thing is that I know I have a future with my international degree after graduation. It is recognized everywhere, so I can be confident that I will find a job. The study system is not the same as in Cameroon. In the Netherlands, there are only a few students in a class, so the tutor can easily monitor the progress of each student closely. Grades are awarded according to your competences. The curriculum is rich and intensive. You need to be very motivated to complete the academic year successfully. In general, classes take all day. The weekends are free, but I have to do assignments and prepare for the coming week. My student life is busy, so an agenda is a necessity for me. The facilities for studies and leisure are modern and available to every student: the library, all the media, the infrastructure and machines, sport accommodations, you name it. Although the cost of rent for your room and insurance isn’t cheap, study in Holland is less expensive compared to other countries. The tuition fees and the price of food and drink are relatively low. One good tip: start as early as possible with your admission procedure because it can take some time. It’s important to study the rules and regulations very well before making plans. About the Dutch: I think they are hard-working, hospitable and proud people. Their lifestyle is simple and sociable, but strict. This explains, in my opinion, why they are able to train good and successful managers.